An Affair to Remember⎼ Attending the 71st Emmy Awards by Alexi Rabin

My original plan for Emmy night was to ‘live-tweet’ from a Beverly Hills hotel restaurant on behalf of Sarah’s Backstage Pass, just like I had done for the Critics’ Choice Awards the past five years.

Alexi Rabin and her family-Sarahs Backstage Pass

Little did I know that I’d live out my dream and actually attend the Emmys. With 43 minutes to spare, I’d have to quickly Uber to Macy’s, shop for a dress and shoes, and arrive on the red carpet. There was no time to put on makeup or even look in a mirror, but I did not care, I was attending the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards. Now let’s rewind to ten days ago.

My dad, Steven, won the Emmy seat filler lottery, so I began planning our weekend. Upon arriving, we kicked off Friday by attending the taping of NBC’s new show, “Indebted,” and by taking a selfie with Fran Drescher; then dinner at Craig’s with a sighting of Kate Beckinsale. Saturday, the party hopping began outside of the Creative Coalition’s Television Humanitarian Awards at Ocean Prime honoring celebrities for their charity work. Henry Winkler, Bethenny Frankel, Jeffrey Ross, Terry Crews, Michael Keegan Key, Harry Hamlin, Patricia Arquette, and Anthony Carrigan all greeted fans.

After that excitement ended, we headed back to our hotel, the Beverly Hilton, for the BAFTA BBC party. There we met Sandra Oh, Patricia Clarkson, and Rachel Brosnahan. I was thrilled that Brosnahan remembered me from an interview I conducted for SBP back in October 2018. She was so sweet and poised. Here’s the link:


Rachel Brosnahan with Alexi Rabin and Family.

Later that evening we headed to the NBCUniversal Emmy Nominees Reception at the Sunset Tower Hotel. While there we saw Adam Sandler, Derek Hough, Ted Danson, and Mary Steenburgen. Amazingly I spoke with Fran Drescher for five minutes, as she remembered me from the night before. I also met couples Chris Sullivan (“This Is Us”) and his wife, Rachel Reichard and Patton Oswalt and his wife, Meredith Dawn Salenger.

As Emmy morning finally arrived, my dad prepared with ‘us’ (my mom, Sandi, and I) as his ‘glam squad,’ and I was getting ready to live-tweet the awards from a hotel restaurant for Sarah’s Backstage Pass. We arrived near the Microsoft Theater early to have a bite to eat before sending my dad inside. While sitting outside a nearby Starbucks, I met Wells Adams and Brad Goreski who were heading to the purple carpet to host E! ‘s coverage.

Now, stick with me for this next part. It seems unbelievable, but I promise you, it truly happened. After we left my dad with the other seat fillers, I saw a woman sitting on a bench. She resembled Anthony Anderson’s mom, who I’ve seen on ABC’s “To Tell The Truth.” When I read “Doris” on her name tag, I knew it was her.

I said, “Are you Anthony’s mom?” She confirmed, and we took a selfie. “Will you be watching tonight? I’m in a skit so remember this purse!” she said while holding up her big, purple purse. We parted ways until an hour later, when my mom spotted her again and began chatting. From a few steps away, I heard Doris say, “If only I met you two even earlier, I had two extra tickets to the Emmys.”

Alexi Rabin, reporting for Sarahs Backstage Pass, Mama Doris

My heart stopped. Next, I heard my mom say that if she only had one ticket, it would change her daughter’s life. Seemingly excited to make a dream come true, Doris directed us to a chair and instructed us to wait.

Upon returning, Doris explained that the man she was initially bringing to the show agreed to take the after-party ticket instead, so that I, Alexi Rabin, could attend the Emmys. “Doris, thank you so much!” I said as I immediately wrapped my arms around her.

We had to arrive on the carpet by 4:30 pm, and it was already about 3:45 pm. Anxiously awaiting our Uber, my mom and I rushed off to Macy’s and bought the first dresses and shoes we tried on. The adrenaline was flowing.

Alexi Rabin attends the Emmy Awards, Sarah’s Backstage Pass

At 4:30 pm I began walking down the purple carpet. Still unsure whether I was dreaming or not, I turned the first corner and saw the press lineup of E!, Fox, ET, TNT, etc. My eyes rapidly scanned the scene–Jimmy Kimmel interviewing, while Kerry Washington strikes a pose, Dan Levy cracking jokes and Mario Lopez patting Henry Winkler on the back. It was sensory overload in the best way.

I moved at a glacial pace down the carpet to take it all in, the whole time mumbling to myself, “Oh my God, is this real?” Seriously, I repeated that out loud.

“Tony Shalhoub from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” finished an interview, and was calmly standing next to me. I wished him good luck and let him know I was rooting for him (I think that’s why he won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series).”

Tony Shalhoub and Alexi Rabin Sarahs Backstage Pass

The next turn down the carpet took us to the fans sitting in bleacher seats. Their collective screams notified me of who I was near. “Amy! Amy! Over here!” I heard. As I looked to my left, Amy Poehler was by my side. I said hello and told her to have fun. She was full of energy and smiles.

Alexi Rabin and Amy Poehler -Sarahs Backstage Pass

Talent escorts quickly whisked Jason Bateman, Amy Adams, and Ryan Murphy to the theater entrance.

Alexi Rabin and Jason Bateman reporting for Sarahs Backstage Pass

As I entered the theater and began walking to my seat (Orchestra Row W), I could not believe how close I was getting to the stage. I mean, the 23rd row? Unreal.

Directly in front of me towards the stage, Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Sterling K. Brown, Anthony Anderson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and others were taking their seats.

“Take all the pictures you can; this is a once in a lifetime experience,” the woman sitting next to me said.

The countdown on the screen began, and the voice over the speaker system announced that we would be going live shortly. Then the magic began. The laughs from the audience. The cheers. The applause. I was in the room where it happens. My new favorite person, Doris, was in the opening act, stuffing Emmy awards into that big, purple purse that I’ll never forget. She returned to our row on the first commercial break and immediately made sure my mom was able to get in and told me to try to find my dad. I’ve never met someone more generous and caring to complete strangers.

The show continued, and during the next commercial, I decided to take a lap. The entire place was beyond chill. It was honestly a free for all. Audience members would get up when they’d please just to gather in the lobby. However, because it was so relaxed, I was able to strut down to the first row, right behind Joey King and Patricia Arquette (after they shared a hug) and next to Bethenny Frankel. Because I follow Frankel’s Instagram stories, I knew she was sick and told her to feel better. She laughed and thanked me. When I got to the front, I walked past Catherine Zeta Jones showing her husband, Michael Douglas, something on her cell. I squeezed through the cast of “Game of Thrones” as they all mingled as friends, chatting and laughing. Lastly, I leaned over to Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) and wished her good luck. She very sincerely thanked me, because unknown to me at the time, the next category was Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, I guess I wasn’t her good luck, although she’s won eleven Emmy Awards so far. 

Each time the show was about to go live again, the room would turn into the hottest game of musical chairs to ever exist. Attendees sat wherever there was a free seat. Unlike watching at home, I was able to look at the teleprompter to know when winners were supposed to “wrap it up.” They all must have great eyesight, as the teleprompter was pretty far from the stage and quite small. Before I knew it, the final categories were announced (Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Drama Series). The night flew by, and the ceremony was over. 

Mama Doris! I can’t Thank You enough! ❤️

I’d like to thank my parents for this crazy trip, Sarah Knight Adamson for encouraging me to write about my incredible experience and my friends and family for listening to me talk about this for the rest of my life. Most importantly, I’d like to thank Doris for helping me cross off the number 1 item on my bucket list. I’m not sure how anything will ever top this experience⎼ well, maybe the Oscars someday. 

Alexi Rabin September 30, 2019